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Making Thinking Visible

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  717 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
A proven program for enhancing students' thinking and comprehension abilities Visible Thinking is a research-based approach to teaching thinking, begun at Harvard's Project Zero, that develops students' thinking dispositions, while at the same time deepening their understanding of the topics they study. Rather than a set of fixed lessons, Visible Thinking is a varied colle ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by Jossey-Bass (first published March 25th 2011)
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Oct 18, 2015 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
For any educator who would like to feel like they are changing the world and wanting to learn how to create critical thinkers in the classroom, this is the book. This book teaches teachers how to foster a critical thinking environment in an educational world that just looks at scores. It promotes overall learning rather than just teaching to the test. I have already used some of these techniques in my 3rd grade classrooms and I have noticed a difference in my students' thinking as well as my thi ...more
May 29, 2016 Ken rated it really liked it
I read this but never reviewed it. During my feverish, read-anything-about-teaching phase. When I thought being a Master Teacher was possible. Yeah. Then.
Jul 02, 2014 Charlie rated it really liked it
Making Thinking Visible lobbies teachers to change from knowledge instruction towards deeper synthesizing and understanding instruction. Although this is not a new concept, Bloom's Taxonomy etc., practical routines are shared as to how to deepen student thinking while at the same time helping teachers assess this process.

One of my favored parts was the DVD accompaniment where I was able to witness teachers meeting to discuss how their routines were working in the classroom. Ego aside, student f
Jun 02, 2016 heather rated it really liked it
I read this in bits and pieces at first while searching for new ways to assist my students with reading comprehension and analysis, but came back to it more extensively over the last few weeks to help vary the learning routines for some of the students I tutor, especially those who struggle with comprehension and explaining what they are thinking. I love the organization. Each routine is outlined with its purpose, appropriate content, steps of the practice, how it can be modified for different a ...more
Nov 24, 2015 Mariam rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book, It helped me to look back at some of the workshops I give and I think I will always get back to it whenever I am designing a new learning experience.
Before reading this book I browsed quickly the thinking routines on the website and I was skeptic, not sure how to use it, how to put it into context or what is so special about those routines. After reading this book I realized that it's not about the routines it self but about t
Jun 30, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing
Reading this book makes me want to go back to school again...but a school that follows what this book teaches us. Learning and thinking takes a lot of practice and deep thinking is far from teachers just teaching. Teachers must be mentors and guides. Students can take it from there. This book has many practical tools for every educator, but is also an interesting book to read for parents as well.
Laura McCarthy
May 30, 2012 Laura McCarthy rated it it was amazing
MTV is a book to make us (teachers) more thoughtful about the thinking our student do. The book identifies different types of thinking and describes a number of thinking routines that can help students 'see' their thinking and collaborate with peers. The use of the thinking routines has significantly raised the level of the language my First Graders are able to use effectively to explain and expand their thoughts. The website (Project Zero at Harvard) has a number of the routines that you can br ...more
Jan 25, 2015 Diz rated it it was amazing
In this day and age of standardized testing, there are many that lament the decline of education, so greater emphasis has been placed on developing critical thinking skills in many classrooms. This book outlines a way of developing critical thinking in students through the use of thinking routines. The suggestions given in this book are very practical and are applicable to almost any subject and to students of almost any level. One thing that I particularly liked is that this book disregards Blo ...more
Aug 06, 2016 Kristen rated it really liked it
I chose this text for my summer work read on recommendation from Terry Small, who I heard speak at a conference. The first two chapters on the theory were the most important to me, and while I think at times they try to pitch the approach as revolutionary, it seemed more like a slight shift in language and focus on a lot of what teachers are already doing. As a relatively new teacher, I found the organized explanations of the routines and real-world examples and case studies tremendously helpful ...more
Will Vincent
Jul 22, 2016 Will Vincent rated it it was amazing
Inspiring and challenging. As an IBDP teacher for the last eight years I have developed a firm commitment to the IB's mission, but have often been stumped as to how I go about bringing this to life in my classroom. Additional developments by the IB, including the ATLs have seemed to me to be excellent ideas but a challenge to fully implement in class. This book offers some sound advice and a clear scaffold for moving to more and more student-centered classrooms where learning how to think, as op ...more
Amal Shoeib
Mar 09, 2015 Amal Shoeib rated it really liked it
The book content is as catchy as the title. I found it extremely helpful in my research on how to enhance the learning experience in the classroom. The book is basically about how the thinking ability of students is prompted by writing their thoughts or recording them as audiotapes. The students get a better sense of where their perception about something was and how-progressively- it changed and extended. Students are able to connect parallel things and create patterns; They are able to explore ...more
Joy Kirr
May 29, 2016 Joy Kirr rated it it was amazing
Skylar Primm
Apr 09, 2016 Skylar Primm rated it really liked it
I've intended to read this book for at least a year and half, but as often seems to be the case with professional development, this semester feels like it was the perfect time for it. My school year has been dominated by thoughts (and classroom research) about reflection, and the authors have a great deal of experience to share in this arena.

I wholeheartedly embrace Ritchhart, Church, and Morrison's vision of the nurturing a "culture of thinking" in the classroom, as well as their healthy skepti
Aug 04, 2016 Becky added it
Shelves: professional
I like that this book was not all theory. The authors provided useful strategies and specific routines that help to create a culture of thinking in the classroom. For each routine discussed, there was a "picture of practice" which demonstrated that routine in action in an actual classroom. The authors suggested the type of material or activity best suited to each routine and talked about what might have gone wrong if it didn't work. There are teachers from all grade levels represented so in some ...more
Aug 12, 2012 Suzette rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teachers.
Shelves: pedagogy, teaching
So I'm reading this after finishing Why Don't Kids Like School. So far, book emphasizes the process of understanding, and not working memory. In Why Don't Kids Like School there's a strong argument for practicing and memorizing certain facts to increase the room in working memory and thus be able to develop understanding more easily. This doesn't mean the books are in opposition. It just seems to me that reading them so close together gives me the chance to think what kinds of knowledge I need m ...more
Aug 23, 2015 Kristin rated it it was amazing
Yes, it's dense reading, but this book is a fantastic resource for teachers. Not only does it outline the research behind the value of making thinking (ours and our students') visible, it provides 21 tangible, clear strategies to use in class. Each strategy is framed with a description of purpose, possible applications, ways to asses, and copies real-life examples of the strategy in action in various teachers' classrooms. I will leave this on my desk next time I feel a discussion is lagging so I ...more
Anticipating the February 2015 publication of Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools nudged me to reflect on how much Ron Ritchhart's previous books, Intellectual Character and Making Thinking Visible, have shaped my teaching and thinking life. Intellectual Character is my touchstone text; it gets at the core of why I teach and challenges me to continue to stretch in my own understandings of learning. Making Thinking Visible provides me concrete ...more
Mrs. Ebarvia
Apr 10, 2016 Mrs. Ebarvia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
Excellent. Ritchart, Church, and Morrison argue that we need to move beyond seeing thinking as a sequence or hierarchy to uncover the complexities of our thinking processes. In their research, they identify 6 essential "moves" that lead to understanding. The authors also provide 21 strategies to make thinking visible in classrooms, with applications across disciplines, k-12. It's what you want in any "teacher" book: sound research with strategies can be applied in the classroom tomorrow.
Apr 03, 2013 Amy rated it it was amazing
Excellent resource! I love the simplicity in the routine explanations, the variations of each, and the work samples. I've been using these routines weekly and have seen a great improvement in discussion, thinking and quality of work. I've also seen a dramatic increase in student participation and motivation. This is especially exciting as I work with struggling students, many of whom are more than a grade level behind. To see this transformation is exciting and encouraging. As a teacher, this bo ...more
Jun 30, 2015 Kristi rated it really liked it
As teachers, we are often told to make students think more deeply and critically or to use more higher order thinking skills. We are rarely told how to do this. This book offers some very concrete thinking routines to use at various stages of teaching a concept to deepen student understanding and encourage more interaction with the content. I'm looking forward to trying some of them!
Mar 06, 2016 Nancy rated it really liked it
This was recommended to me by a fellow teacher who said it was her favorite teaching book. It's about how to get kids to think and to see what they are thinking- there are many strategies in it and suggestions to get kids brains engaged in ways they may not have been previously. Lots of good ideas... and many ways to increase rigor and engagement in a classroom.
Michelle Amato
Sep 10, 2015 Michelle Amato rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Questions that prompts this review should be: How do you think? What do you think? How do you share that thinking, and what do you do with all that thinking?

This is an essential read for teachers. First and foremost, it exposes the lack of data on which Bloom's taxonomy rests. Please read this if you are a learner or a teacher.
Dipeshwor Shrestha
May 18, 2015 Dipeshwor Shrestha rated it it was amazing
When we first started designing classes at Karkhana, we put a lot of emphasis on activities that were fun for the kids. But slowly we began to realize that activities alone do not ensure learning. This book has lots of techniques teachers can use in their classrooms to make the children's thinking visible.
Mar 02, 2015 Craigneggs rated it it was amazing
A great read for those teachers wondering "Are my students really learning or are we going through the motions?" Also like the examples and variations in the applications of the Thinking Routines. After reading this I've scrapped some of my classroom tasks for richer and deeper learning.
Apr 23, 2014 Sheila rated it really liked it
Wonderful routines are introduced to help make your students thinking visible. Pairs well with What Readers Really Do ... both books strive to put the students' thinking in a place of importance instead of the canned answers that can be parroted with much thought at all.
Heather G
Apr 26, 2016 Heather G rated it really liked it
Great resource with practical ideas that anyone can use in the classroom tomorrow. I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this with colleagues as PD and as a support for trying new ideas and reinventing old ways of thinking and teaching.
Scott North
Culture of thinking

This would be a great book for an academic and a teacher but unfortunately doesn't quite work for the broader community. However the concepts within the book are applicable in business and I would encourage people to read this book accepting the down side of the way it is written. You will need to skim read large sections given the student focus but take your time through the learning approaches.
Carrie Nepstad
Dec 28, 2011 Carrie Nepstad rated it really liked it
Fabulous resource! This book goes into excellent detail about using thinking routines to make student learning visible. I met Ron Ritchhart when I attended the Future of Learning conference at Harvard Graduate School of Education. I was fortunate to be a student in one of his seminars and had the wonderful experience of participating in a thinking routine from the perspective of a student. This was a powerful learning experience and I look forward to implementing these routines with my own stude ...more
Mike Cosgrave
Sep 14, 2014 Mike Cosgrave rated it really liked it
Great book, builds on the Visible Thinking and Cultures of Thinking projects at Harvard but a lot of the content is material which really should be discoverable on the web in this day and age ( 2014).
Oct 11, 2014 Nativida rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teacher-book
1. Learning is a consequence of thinking.
2. Learning is as much a collective endeavor as it is an individual process.
3. Learning is provisional, incremental, and evolving in nature.
4. Learning involves continual questioning aimed at uncovering the complexity of ideas.
5. Learning is an active process that entails getting personally involved.

Classrooms can become places of intellectual stimulation where learning is viewed not in test scores but in the development of individuals who can think, plan
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Ron Ritchhart is currently a Senior Research Associate at Harvard Project Zero where his work focuses on such issues as teaching for understanding, the development of intellectual character, creative teaching, making students' thinking visible, and most recently the development of school and classroom culture. Ron's research and writings, particularly his theory of Intellectual Character and frame ...more
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“Bloom identified a sequence of six learning objectives that he felt moved from lower-order to higher-order thinking: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. However, these ideas were just a theory and were not based on research on learning. Nonetheless, they have become codified into the way many teachers are taught to think about thinking.” 1 likes
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